Note #1: This is part two of a three-part series I’m publishing looking at the numbers in Ward 4. This post looks at ANC results in the Ward. The first looked at turnout. The next will look at how citywide candidates performed.
Note #2: The Board of Elections hasn’t certified results yet, so numbers might change.
While much of the 2018 general election here in DC focused on the At-Large Council race, it also saw the election or re-election of hundreds of Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.
In Ward 4, there were 37 ANC races but only 48 candidates on the ballot, not including write-in candidacies. Twenty ANC seats had only one candidate listed on the ballot, and three (4A07, 4B05, 4C04) had no candidates listed at all!
If you stopped by any polling places or just talked to your neighbors, there’s a good chance you ran into people who had no idea who to vote for in these races. That’s perhaps why out of 30,198 Ward 4 voters who voted on election day, just over 25,000 cast votes for ANC candidates. In other words, more than 5,000 people in Ward 4 turned out to vote but didn’t vote for or write in an ANC candidate. DC Board of Elections tallies these as “undervotes.”
Not surprisingly, the contests with the highest raw number of undervotes were those with no name on the ballot.
In 4C04, there were 376 undervotes and 148 write-in votes. We won’t know exactly who those write-in votes went to until the Board certifies, but it seems likely that Nora Simon nabbed plenty. She launched a proper write-in campaign shortly before election day.
In 4B05, there were 507 undervotes, the highest single number in any Ward 4 single member district (SMD). There were also 108 write-in votes. In 4A07, there were 486 undervotes and 150 write-in votes. Did candidates run spirited write-in campaigns in these SMDs? I honestly don’t know. If you do, let me know so I can update this.
While we’re talking about write-ins: what happened in 4B06 and 4C08?
Incumbent 4B06 commissioner Natalee Snider chose to withdraw from the race on October 1st, citing a need to focus on family and health. While it was too late to take her name off the ballot, she supported a write-in campaign by neighbor Tiffani Johnson. Snider’s name recognition still got her 623 votes compared to 169 write-in votes, most of the latter presumably for Johnson.
In a note to the Takoma listserv on November 7th, Snider relayed that she had spoken to the the Board of Elections. BOE said it would be re-opening the ballot process in January 2019. If only one eligible constituent qualified for the ballot, they would automatically become the commissioner. If more than one person qualified for the ballot, a special election would be held.
Then, of course, there’s 4C08, which grabbed attention far beyond Ward 4 with a write-in campaign from Leah Anderson that started with signs telling voters to ask incumbent commissioner Tim Jones “why he hates lemonade stands.” Jones ended up getting 418 votes compared to 438 cast for a write-in candidate. That’s awfully close. We’ll have to wait and see whether all of those write-in votes went to Anderson.
What about contested races with more than one candidate’s name actually on the ballot?
In 4A01, challenger Phyllis Green, supported by Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, defeated incumbent Douglass Sloan with 510 to 345 votes, respectively.
In 4A02, incumbent Stacey Lincoln faced off against challenger Iris Parks. The race got heated, with accusations flying on the Shepherd Park listserv and the unusual involvement of Councilmember Todd. Much like the role Mayor Muriel Bowser played in the At-Large Council race, Todd reportedly endorsed and put some work in for the challenger. I’ve spoken to at least four Shepherd Park residents who say they received a robocall from the Councilmember or saw him canvassing with Parks. Ultimately, Lincoln prevailed, winning 580 votes to Parks’s 452.
In 4A04, incumbent Patience Singleton defeated challenger Jasmine Byrd with 448 to 250 votes, respectively.
In 4B01, incumbent commissioner Andrew Carley was defeated by challenger Evan Yeats. Yeats won 491 votes to Carley’s 395.
In 4B02, incumbent commissioner Tanya Topolewski was defeated by challenger Erin Palmer. There was some conflict in this race, too, with accusations about candidate qualifications, the use of the phrase “Make 4B Great Again,” and disputes about the proper boundaries between Manor Park and Takoma. Palmer won 580 votes to Topolewski’s 182.
ANC 4B07 gets the prize for being the only race with three candidates on the ballot. Incumbent Judi Jones faced off against Alice Gilmore and Geoff Bromaghim. Bromaghim won with 509 votes to Jones’s 341 and Gilmore’s 283.
In 4B08, two new candidates faced off. Alison Brooks won 624 votes, besting James Thomas’s 169.
In 4B08, incumbent Tischa Cockrell lost to challenger La Roya Huff. Huff, who works as a constituent liaison for Councilmember Todd, won 480 votes to Cockrell’s 468. That’s a close margin, so keep an eye on the Board certification.
In 4C01, incumbent Charlotte Nugent defeated challenger Salina Waddy, winning 476 votes to Waddy’s 140.
In 4C03, incumbent Ulysses Campbell won 387 votes, besting DSA-endorsed challenger Ashik Siddique, who received 261 votes.
In 4C05, two new candidates faced off. Debbie Matties took home 319 votes to Benjamin Underwood’s 174.
In my home SMD, 4C07, we had a contested race until around the time early voting started. Kreig Rajaram withdrew from the race in late October, but his name stilled appeared on the ballot. His opponent, Kim Varzi, ultimately won anyway, with 628 votes to Rajaram’s 119.
Are there any numbers that stand out? Of course.
The award for highest number of raw votes won by any commissioner goes to 4A08 Commissioner Gale Black. Black ran unopposed and reeled in 938 total votes, with 43 voters writing in someone else.
The award for highest proportion of votes cast won by any commissioner goes to 4D02 Commissioner Renee Bowser, who got 97.5% of the vote and was unopposed. Close seconds were 4D04’s Jamie Barden, also unopposed, with 97.22% and 4A06’s Candace Tiana Nelson, also unopposed, with 97.0%.
The award for highest number of races with at least two candidates on the ballot is a tie. Both 4B and 4C had five such contests. On the flip side, ANC 3G (the Ward 4 portion) and ANC 4D has no contested races.
The award for highest number of voters actually voting in an ANC race goes to 4B07, the three-way race. A total of 1,146 people in that SMD voted for an ANC candidate. In second place? 4A02, the Lincoln-Parks race. A total of 1,039 people in that SMD voted for an ANC candidate. The race with the smallest number of voters was in 4B05, which had no names actually on the ballot. Only 108 people chose to vote by writing someone in.
The award for highest turnout (measured by proportion of eligible voters casting a ballot in their ANC race) goes to 4B09, the Huff-Cockrell race. 97% of eligible voters selected an ANC candidate in that SMD. A close second goes to 4A02, the Lincoln-Parks race. 96% of eligible voters selected an ANC candidate in that SMD. Lowest turnout was again in 4B05, which had no names on the ballot. With 615 eligible voters, only 108 voted by write-in, an 18% “turnout.”
Congrats to the winners, and kudos to everyone who decided to run. ANC work is important but also grueling and unpaid. Knowing this and deciding to run anyway takes some commitment.
In an environment where there is very little media coverage of ANC races, I also want to give a special shoutout to DC North Star for interviewing several ANC candidates in the Ward.
You can view the ANC results for yourself on the BOE’s website. Select the “Ward” button from the Results Category section, then click the Ward 4 button and scroll down.
Updated on 11/8/17. Corrected incumbent/challenger status in the Green/Sloan race and added text on involvement of Councilmember Todd. Thanks to City Paper coverage for the clarifications.